DuBois et fils has made a comeback in recent years under the stewardship of industry veteran Thomas Steinemann who acquired it in 2010 and revamped the product line-up two years later. The company stakes claim to the oldest watch factory in Switzerland, having been founded in 1785 in Le Locle. The revamped DuBois et fils only produces mechanical watches in limited editions (not more than 99 of each reference) to emphasize Steinemann’s vision of the “new luxury”.
In keeping with the rental economy zeitgeist, the company now also allows customers to rent a timepiece for three months from the brand’s website. We recently got our hands on the DuBois et fils DBF001-08, a stylish flyback chronograph with a big date complication which was among the first models launched to mark the comeback. Encased in 316L stainless steel case, this chronograph touts a very modern 41.5 mm case width and short sloping lugs that makes it wear smaller on the wrist. While the middle case is satin-brushed, the slim fluted bezel and caseback have a polished finish. The mushroom-shaped chronograph pushers have a chevron pattern for better grip. Just like with the Ref. DBF003-07 we reviewed last year, there is a real sense of quality to the construction of the case.
Much of this watch’s appeal lies in its stepped dial. The silver dial has a subtle champagne tinge that comes to the fore when light falls on it from certain angles. While the center of the dial has a snailed finish, the applied hour markers sit on a guilloche-patterned ring. The striped guilloche lines seem to flow outwards from the center of the dial and lead to the lines of the fluted bezel. A thin black ring on the periphery of the dial holds a printed track with a minutes scale subdivided into fifth-of-a-second graduations.
The big date indication is placed under the brand legend. The chronograph has a tri-compax layout and each subdial has a black chapter ring. A running seconds hand is placed at 3 o’ clock, a 12 hour register at 6 o’ clock and a 30-minute counter at 9. Time is indicated by a set of rhodium-plated hands, the minutes hand is part-skeletonized. The applied numerals and hands are filled with SuperLuminova for optimum visibility. This is a flyback chronograph so the central chronograph seconds hand snaps back to zero when reset.
A sapphire window on the steel caseback reveals the watch’s engine, Caliber DD44500. This is a self-winding ETA 2892 movement fitted with a chronograph module by Dubois-Dépraz. The movement has a power reserve of 44 hours and beats at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vph). Caliber DD44500 uses an open-worked rotor and comes with decorative flourishes like perlage and snailing visible through the caseback which is secured by four screws, each resembling the fig tree logo of the brand in relief.
A nine-link 316L stainless steel bracelet with alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces that closes with a butterfly clasp and push buttons is used to secure the watch on the wrist. The small links ensure that the bracelet wraps around the wrist and is comfortable to wear. The DBF001-08 is limited to 99 pieces and is priced at AED34,100.